June 12th, 2010 - Hoof Care for Thoroughbreds

  • June 15, 2010
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Responsible owners or managers put time and focus into every aspect of maintaining the horses in their care. An essential element of having healthy, happy horses is proper hoof care. From foal to performance horse to breeding stock, proper hoof care can mean the difference between a sound horse and a lame one, and it can give
a Thoroughbred the solid foundation to become a winner.

Foals
Farriers agree that for optimum development evaluated at about two weeks old and again every couple of weeks as they grow. The first trim takes place anytime from
two weeks to 60 days old, depending on whether the foal needs any corrective trimming or work.

Dr. Stephen O’Grady, of Marshall, Va., was a professional farrier for 10 years prior to becoming a veterinarian. He has published numerous articles in both veterinary and farrier literature and lectured extensively both in the U.S. and overseas. To develop a program for caring for the feet and limbs, O’Grady recommends
the team approach involving a vet, farrier, and committed horse owner working together.

“By doing this, you are putting the foals on a schedule and using the input of all three professionals,” he said.

O’Grady explains that the first trimming includes the hoof wall, leaving all hoof material that the foal stands on, in an effort to make the foot level. He recommends rounding the feet instead of rasping them flat so that there is a ridge of hoof wall around the perimeter and the sole is left untouched. If the frog is recessed, he says, the farrier may trim the wall until the frog is on the same plane. This is the way the young horse is trimmed until he’s weaned or shod.

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